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Office of Undergraduate Admissions


USC Students on the Historic Horseshoe

Scholarships for S.C. Residents

The University of South Carolina Office of Undergraduate Admissions offers many different kinds of merit scholarships for freshmen who reside in South Carolina.

General University Awards for S.C. Residents

While these awards generally cannot be combined with one another (see Lieber Scholars Award and USC STEM Supplement below), they can be combined with a South Carolina state lottery funded scholarship, making your USC education even more affordable!

Stamps  Scholars*
Carolina Scholars Award*
Hamilton Scholars Award*

Stamps Scholars annual value: Up to $20,000
Enrichment fund: $10,000
Four-year value: Up to $90,000

Carolina Scholars Award annual value: $15,000
Four-year value: $60,000

Hamilton Scholars Award annual value: $10,000
Four-year value: $40,000

The Stamps Scholars, Carolina Scholars and Hamilton Scholars Awards are the University of South Carolina’s most prestigious awards bestowed on South Carolina residents. If you have a strong academic record and are a leader in your high school and community, we encourage you to apply for the Top Scholars competition for these awards. Fifty scholar candidates are invited to participate in an interview weekend, after which 20 candidates are named Carolina Scholars and 25 are named Hamilton Scholars.

Additionally, the top five candidates will be nominated as Stamps Scholars and will interview for the chance to receive an enrichment stipend to fund opportunities such as undergraduate research, study abroad, service projects or unpaid internships. Candidates must participate in the entire weekend (Feb. 18-20, 2017) in order to remain in consideration for these awards. In 2016, Top Scholars had an average SAT score of 1507 (ACT score of 33) and had an average weighted GPA of 4.83.

To apply for these awards, you must submit both a USC application and a Top Scholars application supplement to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The deadline for the Top Scholars application is Nov. 15.

Lieber Scholars Award

Annual value: Up to $10,000
Four-year value: $40,000

The university annually awards scholarships to National Merit Finalists and National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars. The competition for these awards begins when you take the PSAT/NMSQT in your junior year of high school. To be eligible, National Merit Finalists must list the University of South Carolina as their first choice through the National Merit Corporation. The National Hispanic Recognition Program will send USC the names of scholars selected for its program. No scholarship application is required. The Lieber Scholars Award is one of only two USC scholarships that can be combined with another university-issued scholarship (the other is the USC STEM Supplement).

Please note that for most students, the total award amount includes a $500 National Merit Scholarship.

Alumni Scholars Award*

Annual value: $5,000
Four-year value: $20,000

Sponsored by the Carolina Alumni Association, these awards signify outstanding achievement in academics, leadership, talent and service. In 2016, recipients of this award had an average SAT score of 1514 (ACT score of 34) and an average weighted high school GPA of 4.89.

To apply for this award, you must submit both a USC application and a Top Scholars application supplement to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The deadline for the Top Scholars application is Nov. 15.

Trustees' Endowment
Scholars Award* 

Annual value: $5,000 
Four-year value: $20,000

You may receive this scholarship if you are an incoming freshman who is academically talented or who demonstrates financial need. This scholarship is one of our premier awards, and candidates typically present high SAT or ACT scores and an excellent GPA. In 2016, recipients of this award had an average SAT score of 1525 (ACT score of 33) and an average weighted GPA of 4.94.

Valedictorian Scholars Award*

Annual value: $3,000
Four-year value: $12,000

If you are ranked first in your class at the end of your junior year or later, be sure your high school guidance counselor notes it on your transcript, as you may be eligible for the Valedictorian Scholars Award. The sole criterion for this award is class rank. In order to be eligible, the student must be a South Carolina resident graduating from a South Carolina high school. 

Dean's Scholars Award*

Annual value: $3,000 
Four-Year value: $12,000

In 2016, recipients of this award had an average SAT score of 1380 (ACT score of 31) and an average weighted high school GPA of 4.59. Note that if you are named a Palmetto Fellows Scholar by the Commission on Higher Education, you will automatically qualify for the Dean’s Scholars Award.

University Scholars Award*

Annual value: $2,000
Four-year value: $8,000

For freshmen entering in 2016, recipients of this award had an average SAT score of 1297 (ACT score of 29) and an average weighted high school GPA of 4.19.

Presidential Scholars Award*

Annual value: $1,000
Four-year value: $4,000

This award is for students who have been named a Palmetto Fellow and score a minimum of 1400 on the SAT (critical reading + math), 1450 on the new rSAT (EBRW + math) or 32 on the ACT (composite).

Thornwell Scholars Award*

Annual value: $500
Four-year value: $2,000

In 2016, recipients of this award had an average SAT score of 1227 (ACT score of 27) and an average weighted high school GPA of 4.29.

USC STEM Supplement

Annual value: $3,300 freshman year only

To support students pursuing degrees in science, math, technology and engineering fields (STEM fields), USC offers this one-time, freshman-year-only award supplement to all admitted freshmen who are named Palmetto Fellows and who enroll in a STEM-eligible major — a list made available through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. The USC STEM Supplement may be added to any other Admissions Merit Award.

USC Raise.me Scholarship Program*

Annual value: Up to $500
Four-year value: Up to $2,000

The University of South Carolina has partnered with Raise.me to offer micro-scholarships to qualified applicants. If you are a high school student at one of the South Carolina high schools listed below, then you have the ability, through this program, to start earning money for college beginning in the 9th grade. To learn more about this scholarship opportunity, visit Raise.me and set up your account.


Allendale-Fairfax High School
Baptist Hill High School
Battery Creek High School
Bethune-Bowman Middle/High School
Blackville-Hilda High School
Burke Middle High School
C. A. Johnson High
C. E. Murray High School
Calhoun County High School
Calhoun Falls Charter School
Carolina High School and Academy
Carvers Bay High School
Central High School
Colleton County High School
Columbia High School
Creek Bridge Middle/High School
Darlington High School
Denmark-Olar High School
Dillon High School
Eau Claire High School
Edisto High School
Estill High School
Fairfield Central High School
Green Sea Floyds High School
Greg Mathis Charter High School
Hemingway High School
Hunter-Kinard-Tyler High School
Kingstree Senior High School
Lake City High School
Lake Marion High School and Technology Center
Lamar High School
Lee Central High School
Legacy Charter
Loris High School
Lower Richland High School
Manning High School
Marion High School
Marlboro County High School
McCormick High School
Military Magnet Academy
Mullins High School
Newberry High School
North Charleston High School
North Middle/High School
Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School
R. B. Stall High School
Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School
Scott's Branch High School
St. John's High School
Timberland High School
W. J. Keenan High School
Wagener-Salley High School
Whale Branch Early College High School
Williston-Elko High School
Wilson High School
Woodland High School

*May not be combined with any other Admissions Merit Award, except for Lieber Scholars Award, Presidential Scholars Award and/or USC STEM Supplement.

State Scholarships for S.C. Residents

The state awards several different types of lottery-funded scholarships to eligible South Carolina residents. Any one of the awards listed in this section can be added to any university-issued scholarship.

Palmetto Fellows Scholarship**

Annual value: up to $6,700 for the first year 
Four-year value: up to $29,200

You are eligible to apply for this state-awarded scholarship, worth up to $6,700 for the first year and up to $7,500 for each of the next three years, if you are an SC high school student with exemplary academic credentials. Students who are named Palmetto Fellows will receive a minimum $3,000 Dean's Scholars award or equivalent (such as Valedictorian, if applicable). For more information, contact your high school guidance counselor or the SC Commission on Higher Education. Palmetto Fellows recipients are not eligible for LIFE or SC HOPE scholarships.

LIFE Scholarship

Annual value: $5,000
Four-year value: $20,000 

The Legislative Incentives for Future Excellence Scholarship is a state-awarded scholarship valued at $5,000 per year. If you meet two of the following three requirements, you are eligible for this scholarship: 1) your final, cumulative grade point average is at least a “B” (3.00); 2) your SAT score is at least 1100 on critical reading and math sections combined (ACT composite score of at least 24); or 3) you graduate in the top 30 percent of your class.

Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholarship Enhancements

Annual value: up to $2,500 beginning sophomore year
Three-year value: up to $7,500 

Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholarship recipients enrolled in certain math and science majors may be eligible for an enhancement award beginning in their second year of enrollment. Eligible students must have completed 14 hours in mathematics or life or physical science, or any combination of both, during their first year. Complete information on the LIFE Scholarship Enhancement and Palmetto Fellows Enhancement are available through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

South Carolina HOPE Scholarship

Annual value: $2,800

The S.C. HOPE scholarship is state-awarded and valued at $2,800 for the freshman year only. If your final, cumulative GPA is at least a “B” (3.00) and you do not qualify for a Palmetto Fellows or LIFE scholarship, you are eligible to receive this scholarship.


**While the vast majority of incoming freshman Palmetto Fellows Scholarship recipients will receive $6,700, there is a cap on the total amount of funding that can be awarded to an individual student per year from the state of South Carolina. If the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, in combination with all other sources of gift aid (scholarships and grants), including federal, state, USC and private funds, exceeds the recipient’s cost of attendance cap, adjustment to the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship will be made in order to prevent an overaward. The 2016-17 cap is $28,312.